DPS investigates indecent exposure in dorm

Tomy Hillers

The Department of Public Safety has recently increased its efforts to apprehend a suspect wanted in three incidences of indecent exposure within the Richardson Court Association.

Jerry Stewart, director of the Department of Public Safety, said there is a strong possibility the suspect is the same person in each incident.

“There have been three reported cases in Freeman Hall this academic year,” Stewart said.

The first case was reported Nov. 6, the second Feb. 17 and the most recent Feb. 24, Stewart said.

Aaron Delashmutt, patrol officer with DPS, said DPS doesn’t have any suspects at this time but it has begun to focus its efforts.

“We have begun surveillance, but our best chance of catching him relies on people reporting the cases immediately,” Delashmutt said.

Difficulty in apprehending the suspect is due in part to the delay between the time of the actual incident and the filing of the report by the witness, Stewart said.

“The initial shock to the victim usually has an effect on the time between the incident and the report,” he said. “If the incident is not reported immediately, law enforcement officials have a hard time forming a description since clothing and direction of travel may change rapidly.”

Stewart said the suspect was described as a white male, being of college age, weighing approximately 170 pounds, with sandy blonde hair.

“In two instances the suspect wore blue jeans,” Stewart said. “In one description the suspect had dirty blonde hair and wore windbreaker pants.”

Stewart said if a student wishes to report an incident of indecent exposure, he or she should call DPS and be prepared to give the suspect’s description, clothing and direction of travel.

“Anyone can call and report these incidents,” Stewart said. “If the student wishes to remain anonymous we will honor his or her request.”

Indecent exposure is classified as a serious misdemeanor by the code of Iowa that is punishable by a fine and possibly a jail sentence.

Witnesses to a case of indecent exposure may seek council from the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support, or ACCESS, which is the advocacy group of the Sexual Assault Response Team in Ames, Stewart said.

Anne Greenfield, executive director of ACCESS, said victims of indecent exposure could call the service’s hotline.

“Someone calling on our crisis line needing temporary counsel will be eligible for one-on-one counseling, if he or she requests it,” she said.

Witnesses could also apply for placement in the safety shelter provided by the Sexual Assault Response Team if he or she no longer feels comfortable in the residence, Greenfield said.